Earlier this year, Milton got together a game of 7 Ages. I was of mixed minds at the time; I wasn’t that impressed with the mechanics of the game, but thought that there might be enough flavor of empire-building and whatnot in there to make the game fun. It was clear that the game had issues, some rather serious, but that maybe there was potential in there somewhere.
Having now played it again, my primary thought was, “what on earth was I thinking?”. You can see Milton’s write-up here, where I rather heartlessly lit into the game in the comments section. Part of this may have been the immediate post-game frustration, but still, I must now revise my earlier opinon: I no longer see any point in the game. It fails on virtually every level, game design to physical design.
Just because by any reasonable critical game standards, I can’t think of anything good to say about 7 Ages doesn’t mean that it is totally without merit; the fact of the matter is, it’s nice to occasionally get together for a big game with your friends. As a get-together game, 7 Ages is nice because it has a fair amount of downtime combined with an inability to do much planning, so you can chat between turns and not stress about it. If you’re playing an actual, quality game like Dune, Successors, Revolution, or Friedrich, this can really cut into your ability to socialize. Now, I can be a bit humorless when it comes to dysfunctional games, but if you’re the relaxed sort that isn’t that disturbed by these things, and can avoid getting frustrated with a level of randomness more appropriate to Chutes and Ladders than a complex 16+ hour game, by all means check it out.
I’m done, though.